In response to the enormous public outcry concerning the presence of a copy
of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in an exhibition at the Bibliotheca
Alexandrina (BA) and the alleged remarks made by a senior official of the BA,
Ismail Seraeldin, with characteristic directness issued the following public
Statement by Ismail Serageldin
Recent press reports
concerning the presence of the first Arabic translation of the “Protocols
of the Elders of Zion” in an exhibition in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina
deserve a prompt and clear reply.
Preliminary investigation determined that the book was
briefly displayed in a showcase devoted to rotating samples of curiosities and
unusual items in our collections. The book was never displayed alongside the Jewish
Torah, nor has it ever been stated that it is a holy book or the basis for a Jewish
constitution. The book is well-known as a 19th century fabrication to foment anti-Jewish
The book was promptly withdrawn from public display, but its
very inclusion showed bad judgment and insensitivity, and an internal administrative
review is underway to determine whether further actions are to be taken.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is profoundly committed to its role
as a center of learning and a place promoting tolerance, dialogue and understanding
between peoples, cultures and civilizations. We are honored to work with distinguished
international partners in promoting these universal ideals.